An instrument in search of its repertoire? – the Theewes claviorgan

The Theewes claviorgan is a Tudor keyboard instrument, and its magnificent case can be seen in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London  The word ‘claviorgan’ is an anglicised form of the Latin ‘claviorganum’—the term for a harpsichord and organ combined in a single instrument. The revival of interest generated by the reconstructions of the harpsichord and organ parts of Theewes’s original has prompted much discussion about how such instruments were used; moreover, the reconstructions have provided a unique opportunity to reassess the performance and interpretation of late-sixteenth- and early-seventeenth century keyboard music.

This article examines the Theewes claviorgan, and also the ways in which an instrument of this type might inform our view of the solo repertoire and change our understanding of keyboard instruments in ensemble performance.  It was written by Terence Charlston, and originally appeared in the RCO Journal of 2009.



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